Voyage charterparty – “with all convenient speed sail and proceed” to load port – creates an absolute obligation
On 30 July 1953, the vessel left the United Kingdom for Fort Churchill, a port on the Hudson Bay, in ballast to load grain for a return voyage to the United Kingdom pursuant to a voyage charterparty.
On 6 August 1953, before the vessel had reached Fort Churchill to load, the owners fixed her on a second charter from Fort Churchill to the United Kingdom, stating an expected time of arrival as 27 September 1953.
As matters turned out, the vessel was delayed at the UK discharge port of Leith by congestion with the effect that the vessel would only have been able to reach Canada by 20 October 1953, ie 3 weeks late.
On being informed of the delay at Leith, new charterers cancelled and claimed damages.
Devlin J, after setting out the rule in Samuel Sanday and Co v Keighley, Maxsted and Co, that missing a cancelling date for arrival at a load port does not give rise to a claim for damages, held that the obligation to proceed with all convenient speed to loadport implied an obligation to proceed at a time reasonably expected to reach the destination.
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